Chemistry is all around us. From the clothes we wear and the mobile phones and laptops we use every day, to the cars we drive and the insulation in our buildings; chemistry is a key part of our lives. Making society more sustainable requires us to make chemistry more sustainable – ensuring chemicals and products are produced in a more energy-efficient way, generate less waste, and result in recyclable products.
Set-up in 2020 and located in Antwerp, Belgium, BlueChem is an incubator for sustainable chemistry businesses. It helps start-ups and scale-ups work towards addressing important societal challenges, such as how to reduce CO2 emissions or increase recycling.
BlueChem provides the businesses under its roof with support – ranging from lab infrastructure and co-working spaces, to advice on financing and entrepreneurship. By hosting both start-ups and major conglomerates, BlueChem is able to create a complimentary ecosystem where innovation can thrive. ExxonMobil joined in 2021 when the facility first opened, positioning the company to draw on its considerable experience of scaling up and commercializing solutions to support BlueChem’s smaller businesses.
“Collaborative efforts are very important in science, and innovations happen when people interact,” says Luc Martens, director of the nearby ExxonMobil European Technology Center. “If you bring together the innovators with industry and policymakers, that’s a perfect mix that you need in order to make innovations turn into reality.”